Is this record worth a spin? Should I buy it? Will it add to or detract
from my credibility? Should I care?
I wish someone could break it down for me.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Blue Oyster Cult- Live In The West 1975

I think a BOC review is an appropriate way to end 2011, considering that they were one of the finest rock bands of the 70's and 80's. They successfully combined traditional blues song structures with hard rock chords, often taking forays into extended improvisational territory, replete with blazing guitar solos and hypnotic breakdowns. Their lyrics were poetic ruminations on extraterrestrial life and celestial objects. Rumor has it that this particular bootleg was created by the band itself to distribute to friends. The tracks on Live In The West were culled from 1975 shows in Washington, Oregon, and California, which culminated in their first live record On Your Feet Or On Your Knees. BOC nerds will rejoice at the five tracks included here that don't appear on the official live record: "Stairway To The Stars", "O.D'd On Life Itself", "Flamin' Telepaths", "Dominance & Submission", and the epic "Astronomy". Every track on here is of sensational sound quality and the performances really burn. This period was arguably the band's creative peak, before the notoriety of "Godzilla" and the commercial successes of "Burning For You" and "Don't Fear The Reaper". If you are one of the few people who haven't experienced BOC as a rite of passage, this would be a proper place to begin the immersion process.

Buy this record if you're lost in a forest of hard rock and need a compass.


Heinz Kiessling- Coloured Strings/ That's Music

Two records, made in 1964 and 1965 respectively, by German Big Band orchestra conductor. Years ago I stumbled upon a great compilation of German library music called Days Of Summer. I couldn't find any info about that particular CD on the internet (I've since found out that Days of Summer is a compilation of Brilliant Library Music Ltd. released on the Brigade Montaine Label in 2006) so I tracked down some music from one of the artists featured on the comp. It turns out that Kiessling is responsible for the theme music heard on the TV show It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, which is somewhat appropriate, because Heinz's music has a loftier, more ornate Larry Ferrari kind of vibe (Ferrari was an organist who had a Sunday morning TV show in Philadelphia, where he basically just sat at an organ and played). Many songs utilize arpeggio string flourishes, the sonic equivalent of tiptoeing down the stairs on christmas morning. The tempos are almost universally upbeat and often feature stop-starts that provide structural relief to the meandering melodies. This music would be a good substitute for zoloft in treating depression as well as inspiration for dusting around the house.

Buy this record while you stoke the fireplace logs and boil water for a nice cup of hot cocoa.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Blut Aus Nord- 777-The Desanctification

Santa Claus and Death Metal. I really believed in both when I was younger. When I got Venom's Black Metal on Christmas I thought that Santa was the coolest mofo on the planet. And Venom scared the shit out of me. I was sure those guys were the darkest, vilest, most Satanic souls on Earth. Now Santa brings my kid Katy Perry records and Black Metal just seems like a lark. The French multi-instrumentalist behind Blut Aus Nord falls under the black metal moniker, but what a lot of critics are calling black metal these days is really just glorified chamber rock with a lot of chorus guitar effects and lurching rhythms. Many of the riffs on 777- The Desanctification wouldn't be out of place on an Alice In Chains record. However, the band does nail the mystical metal angle while naming every song "Epitome", with a roman numeral. "Epitome XII" is an effective instrumental that combines an ominous arching chord progression over an other-worldly backing chorus that calls to mind a laborious climb up celestial steps to Purgatory. The problem with Blut Aus Nord is that each track lumbers along with no clear direction or inspiration. Isn't the Devil's music supposed to have a point, or at least horns?

Buy this record if Catholic guilt is causing you to give up Christmas cookies.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

331/3 Timeless Tunes of 2011

Here's a list of  33 songs that piqued our interest in 2011. They are in no particular order and their inclusion is very discriminatory. This is what we liked and we don't give a shit if you agree or not, but let us know if you do agree or not. We appreciate the banter.

Twin Sister- "Bad Street"
Bad Street EP
Bobby- "Nam Champ"
The Donkeys- "Ceiling Tan"
Born With Stripes
Stevie Nicks- "For What It's Worth"
In Your Dreams
Eddie Vedder- "Longing To Belong"
Ukelele Songs
The Antlers- "I Don't Want Love"
Burst Apart
Kurt Vile- "Jesus Fever"
Smoke Ring For My Halo
Scream- "Get Free"
Complete Control Sessions
Real Estate- "Out Of Tune"
Destroyer- "Chinatown"
Purling Hiss- "Headlights"
Dizzy Polizzy
El Rego- "Hessa"
El Rego
Girls- "How Can I Say I Love You"
Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Austra- "Hate Crime"
Feel It Break
Gardens & Villa- "Orange Blossom"
Gardens & Villa
Jacuzzi Boys- "Libras and Zebras"
Jonny- "You Was Me"
When Saints Go Machine- "Church And Law"
The Coathangers- "Johnny"
Larceny & Old Lace
Those Darlins- "Screws Get Loose"
Screws Get Loose
Bibio- "Anything New"
Mind Bokeh
Red Fang- "Wires"
Murder The Mountains
Patrick Cleandenim- "In My Baby's Eyes"
Radio Heartbreak
Oneohtrix Point Never- "Replica"
Little Dragon- "Shuffle A Dream"
Ritual Union
Shannon & The Clams- "The Cult Song"
Sleep Talk
The War On Drugs- "Brothers"
Slave Ambient
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings- "He Said I Can"
Soul Time!
Thao & Mirah- "Rubies And Rocks"
Thao & Mirah
The Chain Gang of 1974- "Stop"
Wayward Fire
Washed Out- "Amor Fati"
Within And Without
SBTRKT- "Wildfire"
The Weeknd- "Wicked Games"
House Of Balloons

Guided By Voices- Let's Go Eat The Factory

Guided By Voices have been experiencing a much-deserved renaissance due to their demand, and nice paydays, on the festival circuit in the past two years. Although the band had been in unofficial retirement mode, Bob Pollard and co. reformed the core group responsible for their most groundbreaking early records and cranked out indie gem after indie gem to thousands of kids who weren't yet aware when Pollard was earning his "Godfather of Indie Rock" title. Now the band seems intent on capitalizing on their resurgence with the release of Let's Go Eat The Factory. It is with heavy heart that I have to report that GBV's latest effort feels like a bunch of demos and out-takes, a bevy of partially realized ideas (not unlike many early Pollard songs), but lacking the hooks and intensity of those earlier recordings. They maintain a lo-fi aesthetic that could conceivably place the new record alongside the Vampires On Titus and Bee Thousands, but the song-writing is just not up to snuff. Interestingly, Pollard breaks out a seemingly traditional tune called "Old Bones" that feels like an homage to Tom Waits, replete with an accordion overlay and an accompanying string section. GBV fans, like myself, will continue to mine the new record for an occasional gem ("Chocolate Boy", "The Unsinkable Fats Domino"), but will invariably retreat back to the glory days when Pollard was still the Godfather, not the Grandfather of Indie Rock.

Buy this record because you really want it to be like it used to be.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Compiled Taste of the Best of Buy This Record? 2011

We've put together a compilation of some of our favorite music for the 2011 calendar year. Track listing and links are below:

Kurt Vile- On Tour
Gardens & Villa- Black Hills http://www.fileserve.com/file/ssWKEc6 
Ween- Linda (The Sexy Dancer) http://www.fileserve.com/file/MAprarX 
Obits- No Fly List http://www.fileserve.com/file/dm5pvdg 
Chelsea Wolfe- Tracks (Tall Bodies) http://www.fileserve.com/file/JGxb9Fk 
Noveller- Tuesday Before Poland http://www.fileserve.com/file/4pTsCNf 
Purling Hiss- Whipple Dam http://www.fileserve.com/file/H2jZxHQ 
Unknown Mortal Orchestra- FFunny FFrends http://www.fileserve.com/file/AQ2Ngxm 
FRKWYS Vol. 5- New Horizons (Mirror Mirror) http://www.fileserve.com/file/SdU9ZRw 
Ocote Soul Sounds- Contigo Jamas http://www.fileserve.com/file/zRyM3AD 
Blood Orange- Instantly Blank (The Goodness) http://www.fileserve.com/file/3xgs3Ny 
The Weeknd- Initiation http://www.fileserve.com/file/TuJRQRG 
Death Grips- Guillotine http://www.fileserve.com/file/h7b8TBj 
Destroyer- Chinatown http://www.fileserve.com/file/8EWcnRy 
Hauschka- Two A.M. http://www.fileserve.com/file/U7Brfvn 
Wild Flag- Something Came Over Me
Jennifer Castle- Misguided
Andy Stott- Intermittent http://www.fileserve.com/file/ctguzUD 
Ducktails- Hamilton Road http://www.fileserve.com/file/xBr2kh5 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Weeknd- Echoes of Silence

He's only 21 but this is already his 3rd record of 2011. The first, House Of Balloons, drew a lot of ink for it's tales of drugging and fucking sung with a radio-friendly R&B voice over foreboding, yet compelling, rhythmic structures. The next record, Thursday, was much more ethereal but didn't feel as accessible. Now the final installment in this 2011 trilogy reaches our ears in the form of Echoes of Silence, combining the best aspects of both House of Balloons and Thursday, while showcasing the musical maturity of Toronto, Ontario's Abel Tesfaye. Dare I say that he can sound like the 2nd coming of Michael Jackson when he chooses to rip out some grittier verses? Give the opening track "D.D." a spin and tell me you don't hear it. "Outside" builds on the themes of young lust that prevailed on the first record, our protagonist daring his latest conquest to go back to her man after a night of his indomitable loving. Overall, the beats are more varied and diverse on Silence, propelling verses while remaining down-tempo in nature.

Buy this record if you're growin' up and you're horny.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Real Estate- Days

North Jersey has become a bit of a hotbed for indie music recently. There's Titus Andronicus from Mahwah, Vivian Girls bassist and La Sera front-man Katy Goodman from New Brunswick, and Real Estate from Ridgewood. North Jersey also produced Yo La Tengo, The Feelies, and some Italian guy from Hoboken named Frank Sinatra. Real Estate offer up breezy pop with similarities to the aforementioned Feelies, as well as a casual nod to The Byrds and The Sea & Cake. It's got just the right amount of lilt to get heads nodding, but not enough juice to shake the rump. They are a well-adjusted suburban teenager's dream and pretty good medicine for a mal-adjusted suburban guy who's now entering his middle ages. One of their guitarists has a side project called Ducktails which I find more interesting than the stuff Real Estate is doing, but who cares what I think.

Buy this record if you wanna remember those hazy summer days spent biking between the Village Market and Dairy Queen.


Andy Stott- Passed Me By/We Stay Together

Some seriously atmospheric grime dub-step from Manchester, UK producer Stott, who was introduced to his label, Modern Love, by acclaimed British musician Mark Stewart. The label also houses another critical darling Demdike Stare and is quickly booking points as the go-to label for forward leaning dub/house music. Stott's latest collection is actually two separate EPs with four bonus tracks added. He likes to refer to his music as "knackered house", because the rpms are slowed to a crawl, with minimal elements thrown in, allowing the music space to ooze and seep into perceived subterranean caverns of industrial waste. Tracks are enveloped by constant background hiss with submerged beats pulsing from within. It's a tried and true recording conceit that feels refreshing in Stott's capable hands.

Buy this record if you're envisioning a midnight's stroll on the English Moors.


Marijuana Deathsquads- Crazy Master

Their roots can be traced to improvisational avant-garde music and subtlety is not in this Minnesota band's vocabulary. Each member belongs to another local band Building Better Bombs. There is a cacophony of electronic blips and whirs, anchored by a multitude of percussion, including a traditional drum kit and the occasional call and response of distorted, adrenaline-fueled vocals. At times it can be reminiscent of a Butthole Surfers breakdown or an Acid Mother's Temple mind melt.  The band's title is appropriate because Crazy Master is tailor made to squash just about any good weed high.

Buy this record if you plan on huffing some glue then poisoning the neighbor's cat.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

John Maus- Demos

A bunch of demos/b-sides from the John Maus album We Must Become the Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves. Sounds very similar to Ariel Pink's work but more orchestral in nature. He cribs riffs from Alphaville and Pat Benatar while singing in a chamber-like, baritone Peter Murphy voice. Maus did a Q & A earlier this year with Pitchfork.com where he came off sounding like a pompous douche, discussing his love of obscure music that people had never heard of and calling for the death of the local record store, but he quickly apologized to the blogosphere for his responses and perceived attitude. It remains to be seen how clever he thinks he may be as compared to how clever he truly is, but these tracks provide a good base for Maus fans to immerse themselves. "The River" is especially rewarding.

Buy this record if you're sure that you're more learned than the guy sitting over there.


Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Original Soundtrack

This is the first collaboration for the frequent collaborators since Reznor and Ross won the Best Original Score Oscar last year for the movie The Social Network. Atticus Ross had produced the last four Nine Inch Nails (Reznor's band) records, but it looks like the two have really found their niche making soundtracks together. Both Network and Dragon Tattoo OSTs are imbued with a sense of icy detachment and foreboding. The music is often simultaneously aggressive and passively melancholic, eliciting a dystopian world of caution, anxiety, and reflection. There are a ton of textures and ideas within this soundtrack that Reznor couldn't effectively explore under the Nine Inch Nails banner, not withstanding the aggro cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song", with vocals from Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, that opens the record.

Buy this record, take a couple vaperizor hits, have sex with someone, then go stand precipitously close to the edge of a cliff and ponder the infinity of space.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chicago- Live in '75

So I spend my Saturday mornings listening to Chicago bootlegs, what's it to you? Easily the best of the city/state named bands (Kansas, Boston, Salem, Alabama), this 2011 Rhino reissue showcases a three night run of shows the band played at the Capital Centre in Maryland in June of 1975 when the band was at the peak of its powers, having released 8 consecutive gold records in just 6 years. Chicago was the most successful billboard singles charting band of the 1970s, but many will remember them for their syrupy ballads in the post Peter Cetera era. They were one of the first bands to successfully augment a progressive rock sound with a horn section. Songs like "Wishing You Were Here", "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is",  and "Saturday In The Park" evoke a specific, yet undefinable, time and space with the very distinctive Chicago sound; mellow grooves punctuated by rousing horn fills overlain by Terry Cath's casual vocal delivery and Cetera's more emotive vocals.
The '75 tour also saw Chicago doing a massive stadium tour with the Beach Boys (who provided backing vocals on "Wishing You Were Here"). All the hits are here, the above mentioned, as well as: "Just You N Me", "25 or 6 to 4", "Beginnings", "Make Me Smile", "(I've Been) Searching So Long", and "Feeling Stronger Every Day". The sound quality is spotty, sounding like an audience taping, not a soundboard recording, and the instruments often sound tinny and distant. It is, however, a good document of a band at the peak of its power. You won't win any hipness points by listening to this, that's for sure, but who gives a shit. Do what feels right.

Buy this record if you can't access FM radio and The Eagles Hotel California is staring you in the face.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Traveling Wilburys- The True History of The Traveling Wilburys

I don't know whether to be elated or depressed by The Traveling Wilburys. On one hand you have some of the great musicians of our time: Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne putting egos aside to make music. On the other hand, you expect some transcendental songs to come out of this type of project, but you mostly get a batch of barroom burners with the occasional bona fide hit, "Handle Me With Care", "Last Night", "End Of The Line". Even the hits are lightweight, with mostly homogenous lyrics and cliches. I guess this is the result when egos are taken out of the equation as the desire for perfection and precision decreases. But the sense of fun these heavyweights derive from playing together is palpable, as this collection happily bounces between the two records. Unfortunately Roy Orbison died after recording the first Wilbury's record so his majestic voice is under-represented in whole. You basically need to be an asshole not to like the Traveling Wilburys unless you're holding out for the Beyonce, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Adele, Mariah Carey supergroup to assemble.

Buy this record for the guy who's been listening to a lot of Dave Matthews bootlegs lately.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Radical Dads- Mega Rama

Intrigued by the name and slightly repelled by the music connection, RD's drummer was a member of Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah. Lindsay Baker does the majority of singing and shares guitar duties with Chris Diken. Her singing style is reminiscent of Corin Tucker from Sleater-Kinney, a forceful blend of declaratory shouts and plaintive warbled vocals. Diken's voice is weak so the Baker sung songs are more effective. The band has no bassist but it isn't much of a drawback, the guitars weave notes with equal parts chorus, delay, and distortion to add gravity to the sound. Their guitar riffs crib liberally from Sonic Youth, Sebadoh, and Built To Spill. It's pretty standard indie fare, but you could do worse things to your ears.

Buy this record if you're home watching Ultraman with the kids


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lou Reed- Rock'N'Roll Animal

Some purists may liken this mid-70's live record as the equivalent to Bob Dylan At Budokan, meaning excessive electric versions of tried and true classics, standardizing iconic songs that defined an era as well as the artist. I don't give a shit, Dylan's Budokan rocked and so does this. Now that Rock'N'Roll Animal has been digitally re-mastered and re-tracked with several previously unreleased songs added to the collection, it's an even more potent testament to Reed's legacy. "Sweet Jane" kicks things off with one of the greatest song intros of all time, "Rock'N'Roll", and "White Light White Heat" are blistering romps, "Heroin" is an exercise in restraint, capturing the simultaneous heartbreak and exultation of it's subject matter, "How Do You Think It Feels", from the Berlin record, conveys a sense of urgency like it's the last time Reed is ever gonna perform live. "Satellite Of Love", "Oh Jim", and "Walk on the Wild Side" are among some of the notable unreleased tracks included on the re-release. Reed's voice is in fine form and Steve Hunter's guitar solos are inspiring. I can't do justice to this record, just give it a listen.

Buy this record if you forgot why rock matters.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sharon Jones- Soul Time!

Amy Winehouse's loss is Sharon Jones gain. There's no doubt that with the decline, and now tragic death, of Amy Winehouse, the boys at Daptone have been spoon-feeding Jones their A-list material. Jones packs a wallop into her tiny Southern frame, delivering fierce sermons that rival the rawness of Betty Lavette. She's also developed quite a formidable stage presence as well, if she were younger and more attractive she'd be a breakout star. But thanks to Daptone's authentic memory banks, we can enjoy our walk down this overgrown path of soul roots without fear of overcrowding.

Buy this record if the old lady wants you to clean the house but you think it's just fine the way it is.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Best of Lists Suck!

Best of lists, Top 10 lists, and their ilk are lame. Most people don't give a shit what you like or don't like. So in that spirit let me present a list of records that I've enjoyed in the past year. This is in no way a definitive list because I haven't listened to a lot of music, and it is in no particular order (I could probably give a much more accurate list of The Top 10 Things My Daughter Does To Drive Me Mad).

1) Kurt Vile- Smoke Ring For My Halo

Vile is a big John Fahey fan and it comes through in his finger picking style. He's got that guttural Philly accent going in his vocals too, affecting suburban malaise. He has veered toward a noisier live sound in the past, but seems to be coming to terms with the beauty of his music.

2) Gardens & Villa- Gardens & Villa

Sort of a new age pop record with funky bass lines and piccolo playing. This Santa Barbara, CA band utilizes atmosphere well, giving the instruments space to breath and delivering some great understated hooks.

3) Ween- Caesar

Not an actual release, it was posted as a download on Dean Ween's personal facebook page, but great nonetheless. Ween's outtakes are often better than many other bands releases. Most of the demos for their Quebec record are here as well as an album's worth of unreleased gems.

4) Obits-  Moody, Standard, and Poor

Just plain old down and dirty rock from San Diego musical vet Rick Froberg, of Hot Snakes and Drive Like Jehu fame. This is the kind of music you wanna put on for a road trip to Vegas or to prep for a bar fight.

5) Chelsea Wolfe- APOCALYPSIS

She wasn't making much headway doing the coffee klatch folksinger routine so Chelsea Wolfe reinvented herself as a dark purveyor of, what she calls, "doom folk" (a lame title), but the results are pleasant. There are hints of a lot of older indie influences in this record: PJ Harvey, Sonic Youth, Polvo.

6) Noveller- Glacial Glow

Assured release from Brooklynite Sarah Lipstate. It's just her, a guitar, and effects pedals making ambient soundscapes that are progressive and regressive at the same time.

7) Purling Hiss- Lounge Lizards

Murky cacophony of buried vocals and blazing guitars from this Philly crew. Very raw, very punk, very good.

8) Unknown Mortal Orchestra- Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Solid debut from Portland by way of New Zealand group. Basically this year's Tame Impala (if you're familiar with the Australian band). They're not reinventing the wheel but they've crafted a good collection of edgy pop songs.

9) Frkwys Vol. 5: Mirror Mirror EP

Superb series from Brooklyn label RVNG Intl. where artists from similar genres collaborate, often improvising, on a music project. Vol. 5 finds venerable English post-punk musicians remixing songs from the Brooklyn Band Mirror Mirror's record The Society For The Advancement of Inflammatory Consciousness. I think you'll be transfixed.

10) Ocote Soul Sounds- Taurus

An homage to late 60's/ early 70's Latin soul & funk music. The bandleaders from Antibalas and Grupo Fantasma put this record together as a side project, but I think the group will have some longevity. Really groovy stuff here.

Other Notables:
Amor De Dias- Street of the Love of Days
Andy Stott- Passed Me By/ We Stay Together
Atlas Sound- Parallax
Blood Orange- Coastal Grooves
Cut Copy- Zonoscope
Death Grips- Exmilitary
Demdike Stare- Tryptych
Destroyer- Kaputt
Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics
FRKWYS Vol. 7- Borden, Ferraro, Godin, Halo, & Lopatin
Fucked Up- David Comes To Life
Hauschka- Salon Des Amateurs
Jennifer Castle- Castlemusic
Jurgen Muller- Science of the Sea
The Weeknd- Echoes of Silence
Wild Flag- Wild Flag

The Afrosound of Columbia Vol. 1
AKA- Hard Beat
The Beach Boys- Smile Sessions
El Rego
Factory Dance
Miles Davis Live in Europe 1967
Rolling Stones- Some Girls Live in Texas '78
Void- Sessions 1981-83

Monday, November 21, 2011

Most Over-Hyped Bands With No Future

This is the time of the year for giving so I want to give something back to our readers here at Buy This Record?. Most of the bands on this list will be bands that you've heard of. I'm giving you the present of time this holiday season by allowing you to save your ears and spend your resources on meaningful musical endeavors. You may think that you'll be gaining some indie cred or hipster points by listening to any of these bands, but ultimately you're just wasting your time. Frankly, you should just pick up an instrument and start making your own music. It will probably be more enjoyable and have more longevity than most of these artists. Cheers!

1) Cults
2) Wu Lyf
3) Odd Future
4) EMA
5) The Pain Of Being Pure At Heart
6) James Blake
7) Liturgy
8) Kanye West*
9) Best Coast
* I realize that he has had a few successful records already, but he will leave no fossilized record in the Musical Time Scale.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Worst Review Ever?

I stumbled across this review for The Who's Quadrophenia re-issue on a website called www.cinemablend.com. It seems as though English is not the writer's first language. If I'm correct then this review still has no right being published. If I'm wrong then it surely goes down as one of the worst reviews of all time. Music fans, fellow writers, and reviewers, please grab a handkerchief and take a few shots of tequila. They'll help you digest this trainwreck.

2) The Who Quadrophenia
With the same impact as Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones, The Who is also a prolific group from the late 1960’s and 70’s who shaped rock and roll to what it would become today. These bands created rock history by working on sounds not yet developed in the industry. For instance, The Who’s anthem style hard rock was a precursor to many groups like Bruce Springsteen and Journey or more recent groups like The Killers and Muse. Unlike those who take their influences from them, The Who constantly changed their sound and developed it on each release, progressing as musicians. From My Generation toWho’s Next, the Who experimented with sounds, styles and genres that ranged from hard rock to opera, exploring each soundscape thoroughly on separate releases. Up until Who’s Next, which came out in 1971, the band was at a crossroads though.

Their decision to change direction could have been tough, but when the “Baba O Reilly” hit makers quickly realized with Tommy they could explore the more theatrical side of their band, Quadrophenia was inadvertently created. The album's take on progressive rock was refreshing, because with groups like Yes and King Crimson starting to diverge into the more indulgent side of that genre, The Who wanted to make an album that relied on song structure, but with the experimental side of progressive rock. Written entirely by Pete Townshend, the album continued with The Who’s famous “bigger than life rock opera” sound they created withTommy, but on Quadrophenia the band utilizes more synthesizers, organs, unique editing techniques in the studio. The story takes place in London between 1964 and 1965, and involves all of the transcending social and musical happenings that were occurring at that time, entirely from an English teenager’s perspective.Quadrophenia is The Who’s most celebrated album to date, and is being reissued today with newly re-mastered songs, along with some extra goodies to accompany this Pete Townshend epic.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Guided By Voices- Bug House

Bob Pollard, the former schoolteacher turned indie-rock godfather, lifted off from Dayton, OH, charting a course for the ears of a generation of music fans who, to this day, are still trying to resolve the impact that his band Guided By Voices has had on the collective consciousness. Bob is a prodigious songwriter, and punk wordstock troubadour, who has always straddled a line between a Beatles pop sound and The Who's bombast. Bug House is a "sampler" of live and radio performances put together by Robert Gray, a GBV fan who has taken on the task of assembling many of Bob's radio performances and live sessions into a cohesive compilation. Interspersed with radio interview snippets are some wonderful versions of GBV songs: "Watch Me Jumpstart", "Hot Freaks", and "Tractor Rape Chain" from the 1-2 punch of Bee Thousand & Alien Lanes, a stripped-down version of "Bulldog Skin" from Mag Earwhig!, "Atom Eyes" and "Burning Flag Birthday Suit" from Under The Bushes, Under The Stars. Two tracks from the Do The Collapse record, "Surgical Focus" and "Dragons Awake",  receive paradoxical treatment here. On the Rick Ocasek produced record, "Surgical Focus" is a busy, rousing anthem but is presented on Bug House as a delicate acoustic number with Pollard singing in a plaintive alto/falsetto voice. Conversely, "Dragons Awake" is a restrained acoustic number on the proper album, yet receives the full bombastic GBV treatment on this collection. Both Bug House versions are superior to the album versions, leading me to believe that Ocasek did a haphazard job of producing Collapse (which also happened to be GBV's greatest attempt at producing a radio-friendly record), failing to understand the dynamics behind Pollard's songwriting. Their are some rarities on here and the short radio interview segments are entertaining, and enlightening. Guided By Voices fans will be ecstatic to add this to their collections.

Buy this record if you're looking for treasure in the attic and grandma says it's ok to keep whatever you find.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Gauntlet Hair- Gauntlet Hair

A midwesterners version of a McCarren Park kickball game between Animal Collective and Yeasayer. It's a tough sell modeling your band after artists who left no lasting impression on the music culture. Kind of like cribbing your sound from a Nickelodeon jingle. Lots of reverb and delay, cathedral style vocals, pretty much a cacophony of echoes bouncing between your ears. The band name gives you a good idea of what to expect.

Buy this record to drown out the baby's cries.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Atlas Sound- Bedroom Databank Vol. 1

Home recordings from Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox. This was the first of four volumes that were "released" on his blog. It's a fairly sedate affair with acoustic guitars, harmonica riffs, pulsing rhythmic fills,  flittering synth tracks with programmed drums, an instrumental cover of Kurt Vile's "Freak Train", as well as a spirited version of the Bob Dylan/Band penned tune "This Wheel's On Fire", which appeared on The Basement Tapes and The Band's Music From Big Pink record. I may be going out on a limb here but the Bedroom Databank series stands up with any of the other recorded material that Cox has released, and is essential listening for Deerhunter/Atlas Sound fans.

Buy this record for a rainy afternoon of TV soap operas and grilled cheese sandwiches.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hit & Shit with Void's Chris Stover

A conversation I had with Chris Stover, of the seminal DC Hardcore band Void, in anticipation of the Void Pre-Release Party happening this Friday October 21st at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records in Oakland, CA (event details below):

Q: Why did you start the band/ how did it start?
We did it as a reaction to seeing all the great bands coming out of DC. Bubba and I started jamming then Sean and John came on board. It all clicked after that point. A perfect outlet for a group of boys stuck in an all boys Catholic school.

Q: Did you have an idea of what you wanted the band Void to be when you started? Was the band's evolution a conscious decision?

When we started out, we wanted to be loud and fast as fuck. As we started to progress, we tried to focus on being tight , surprisingly. As the band started to splinter, the band became a weird recipe of our musical influences (Metal, Punk, & Rap) In the end, I am not sure the bands evolution was a crystal clear decision.

Q: The band has left a lasting legacy. How do you feel about that?
I'm stoked that their is a legacy at all.

Q: Do you think Void represents the skateboarding culture? What is/was the relationship between Void and the skating scene?
No. I skated and still skate. We played some skateboard type events. As a band, we were'nt skate rock, but we were involved in the culture and had alot of friends who skated.

Q: How would you feel about corporations wanting to use Void music in commercials?
Usually, all of these type of requests are communicated through Dischord. So we rely on Dischord to make the first call then us. So far so good....

Q: Would you be open to a Void reunion?
Given that Sean (RIP) is no longer with us, sure if everyone would want too. I think that we are getting a little to old to sustain anything long term.

7. Why do you hate freedom?
What kind of question is that? Who said I hate Freedom?

What: Void Pre-Release Party
Where: 1-2-3-4 Go! Records
              423 40th Street
              Oakland, CA 94609
              phone: 510- 985-0325
              web: http://www.facebook.com/1234gorecords
When: Friday October 21st, 2011
           Free Admission

El Rego- El Rego

A meeting of the minds between respected Brooklyn, NY label Daptone Records (Amy Winehouse, Sharon Jones, Budos Band) and West African artist Theophile Do Rego. Daptone hand-picked and re-mastered a number of their favorite tunes from Rego's catalog. Rego was a stalwart on the Benin club scene in the late 60s and early seventies, pumping out 45 after 45 in a fertile musical region that included Nigeria, Benin, and Ghana. We've written about West African artists several times here on Buy This Record? so readers probably already know our feelings about this music. El Rego is steeped in the blues and progressive sounds of Western music and it flows through this spirited collection of cerebral rump-shakers.

Buy this record if you've hit a wall while writing your dissertation and need a little inspiration.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Oneohtrix Point Never- Replica

Highly anticipated new release, at least in hipster music circles, by Brooklyn, NY electronic/ambient purveyor. Daniel Lopatin's music is sort of an organic answer to Tim Hecker or Christian Fennesz,  incorporating found sounds and piano into his kaleidoscopic keyboard works. He's not reinventing the genre but he certainly makes it sound inviting.

Buy this record for that aquarium road trip you're planning.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Void Reissue Party in Oakland, CA on October 21st

Don’t miss the Pre-Release Party for 80’s DC hardcore band Void! Celebrate the Dischord Records release of Void: Sessions 1981-1983, a new collection of demos and never before heard tracks from Void's early recording sessions which will be officially released October 24.
Spewing forth from the suburban malaise of Columbia, MD, Void anchored the seminal hardcore scene in D.C. (a scene that included Minor Threat, Bad Brains, and Scream). Void have been credited with bridging the gap between punk rock & metal and were named one of the Top 5 Hardcore Bands of all time by rock superstar Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Them Vultures).
This multimedia event from 6pm to 9pm on Friday, October 21 at 1-2-3-4 GO! Records in Oakland will feature artwork by Rich Jacobs, Tim Kerr & several notable artists, live music, and appearances by Void's own bassist Chris Stover and guitarist Bubba Dupree.

What: Void Pre-Release Party
Where: 1-2-3-4 Go! Records
              423 40th Street
              Oakland, CA 94609
              phone: 510- 985-0325
              web: http://www.facebook.com/1234gorecords
When: Friday October 21st, 2011

Lana Del Rey- Video Games

Is she supposed to be a plastic surgeon's version of Amy Winehouse? A Brittany Spears for disaffected youth? A crooning Liv Tyler look-a-like? Who knows but I'm not feeling it. Lame music, middling vocals, weak lyrics. Of course everyone wants to concentrate on her looks though, kudos mainstream media!

Buy this record if you're looking for a way to score with the cheerleader turned wallflower in your high school.